Stars: Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy, Veronica Cartwright, Suzanne Pleshette, Ethel Griffies

Three years after successfully dabbling in horror tropes for 1960's Psycho, Hitchcock further explored ways to subvert the genre's expectations with The Birds, an adaptation of author Daphne Du Maurier's 1952 novelette.

It's essentially a monster movie, centered on swarms of angry, homicidal pigeons and other winged, airborne assailants that terrorize a remote Southern California town. But what puts The Birds several cuts above its creature feature peers are the numerous ways that Hitch does what he does best: ratchet up the suspense.

Before the flying attackers violently swoop down upon the townsfolk, Hitch subtly places them in the backgrounds of otherwise quiet scenes of dialogue and character development. And since the movie's title is The Birds, after all, you know that those scenery-fillers aren't just there to check out gorgeous model turned actress Tippi Hedren. Rather, they're there to peck the ever-living hell out of her, as seen in the film's scariest moment, a claustrophobic attack sequence where the birds pulverize Hedren in a confined bedroom setting.